In 1984, New York State enacted the "Classification/Alternatives" law to:

  • help counties reduce overcrowding pressures in local jails
  • facilitate more efficient and practical jail population management, and
  • promote the development and implementation of alternatives to incarceration.

The legislation required counties to establish criminal justice advisory boards and to submit annual service plans that would serve as the funding mechanism for alternatives to incarceration programs.

The county's original board was comprised of 16 members. However, in 1998 board membership was expanded and its mandate broadened to include the implementation of Westchester County's "Action Plan to Correction Overcrowding." In addition, the Criminal Justice Advisory board was charged with the responsibility of

  • monitoring the county's criminal justice system
  • developing on-going strategies to reduce persistent overcrowding
  • implementing programs to achieve that goal.

The current Criminal Justice Advisory board is comprised of approximately 30 members representing various criminal justice and community agencies including the judiciary, law enforcement (police, correction, probation, parole), district attorney, mental health, youth bureau, legal aid, drug/alcohol treatment and educational providers.

Westchester County receives state assistance that the Criminal Justice Advisory Board uses to support numerous programs. Collectively, these programs save the county taxpayers over $100 million annually from incarceration costs. These programs are summarized below.

  • Pre-Trial Services ROR Program - screens offenders in local and county courts; researches background to determine whether the individual is a good risk for release and makes a recommendation to the court.

  • Bail Expediting Program – screens persons detained at the jail and women's unit who are being held on bails of $5,000 or less and free of pending warrants. The program conducts interviews to establish name, relationship and phone numbers of all possible sureties and coordinates the expenditures posting of bail and/or bond.

  • Monitored Release Program (MRP) – screens clients at the jail and at local court for eligibility, receives court referrals for intensive monitoring by means of GPS, Call In and In Person Reporting.

  • Youth Opportunities Program – The Youth Opportunities Program will prepare youth for positive, successful lives through assistance in developing compensatory skills to deal with problems they will encounter upon their reentry into the community. The program provides a structured environment for selected 18-24 year old sentenced and un-sentenced males in the Westchester County Department of Correction. The program will serve males, who will be available for 45 to 90 days of programming. The Youth Opportunities Program will provide support, safety, and security and encourage younger offenders to become productive members of their community.

    • Provide risk assessment and individualized discharge planning for all programs participants.
    • Provide program services to 20 participants at all times.
    • Reduce the number of repeat offenders, aged 18-24 that enter the department of Correction.
    • Encourage younger offenders to accept responsibility for their criminal activities.
    • Implement an intensive Community-based aftercare component for all program participants.

  • Department of Probation Community Service Program - This is an alternative sentencing program that targets jail-bound felony and misdemeanor offenders referred by probation officers, defense attorneys and prosecuting attorneys prior to sentencing.

  • Direct Treatment Alternatives to Incarceration (DTATI) Program – This program links all-day treatment service with specialized on-site probation supervision for alcohol and drug dependent probationers. The DTATI Program utilizes six sites: Greenburgh, Mount Kisco, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Ossining and Yonkers. This is a collaborative program including the Department of Probation, St. John's Riverside Hospital, Phelps Memorial Hospital Center and Lexington Center for Recovery.

  • Department of Community Mental Health – Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC) –Accepts referrals from all Westchester County criminal courts and provides a screening for those with potential mental health or substance use issues. Makes referrals to an appropriate program or provider where progress is monitored and disclosed to the appropriate Criminal Justice parties.